Originally posted on cover32 - Chiefs  |  Last updated 4/8/14
With Akeem Jordan’s recent departure to the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs have a hole to fill alongside Pro Bowl inside linebacker, Derrick Johnson. So which contender is the favorite to take the position for the 2014 season? In the red corner, we have the returning Chief, Nico Johnson. Johnson was a fourth-round pick from Alabama in the 2013 draft. He got plenty of playing time and competed well with Akeem Jordan during training camp, but only played in six games last season, mostly on special teams. Johnson’s lack of playing time was largely attributed to an ankle injury he suffered during preseason. His most productive showing came in the final game of the regular season against the San Diego Chargers, where he made seven tackles. Taking the back seat to Jordan for a year gave Johnson a chance to study Bob Sutton’s 3-4 scheme in more detail as well as give his ankle more than enough time to fully recover. His 6-2, 249 lb frame gives him ample ability to stuff the gap and tie up multiple blockers to free up DJ. Head coach Andy Reid believes Johnson can be the starter this season if he stays healthy and continues to learn. “The one thing you get with him is that he’s willing to work hard and wants to be good and will do whatever it takes to do that,” Reid said. “We just need to get him into camp and get him working.” In the blue corner, we have the newcomer, Joe Mays. Mays signed a two-year deal with the Chiefs last week. He started 13 games with the Houston Texans in 2013. At inside linebacker, Mays totaled 66 tackles and one sack last season. Kansas City will be the fourth stop of his NFL career. Mays has the upper hand on Johnson when it comes to experience, entering his 7th season in the NFL. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008, so he is no stranger to Andy Reid’s game plan or the 3-4 defense. At 5-11, 245 lbs, Mays relies more on his speed than his size to get the job done. “The only thing they told me is they’re going to bring me in to compete,” Mays said. “Just come in there and do what I need to do. Hopefully I’ll carve out a role for myself.” The Chiefs may give Johnson another year to split time with and study under an experienced backer like Mays before giving the sophomore full responsibility alongside DJ. That would also give Mays a chance to prove he’s worthy of keeping around for the full length of his contract. You may also be interested in:The battle for inside linebacker: Johnson vs. MaysWhere would Eric Fisher go in the 2014 NFL Draft?Kansas City Chiefs need to build from within, rely on returning talent
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jimmy Butler rips Marcus Smart in post-Game 4 interview: ‘He’s not about that life’

New NHL record set as 18 first round games require overtime

Fred Hoiberg rips officials, says Isaiah Thomas allowed to carry ball

Derrick Rose hangs out with Bulls owner at playoff game

WATCH: Robin Lopez unties, then reties Jae Crowder’s shoe in strange sequence

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tyronn Lue drops hilarious quote about LeBron James’ first-round success

Clarke MacArthur scores Senators’ series-winning goal after miraculous return to ice

Adam Schefter reminds everyone Jimmy Garoppolo is not getting traded

Russell Westbrook confronts reporter for question about Thunder bench

WATCH: Rockets bench laughs as Andre Roberson misses free throw

Steve Kerr does not rule out missing remainder of playoffs

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB (and that's just the injuries)

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker